There is no event or season that isn't ripe to enjoy jazz. It is one of hallmarks of this art form- that any human experience can be stylized into music. The romantic, the joyful, the hardship. It goes on and on. So, if you are looking for some tunes to listen to this fall, here is a list of ten jazz tunes with an Autumn theme.
Autumn Leaves - Cannonball Adderley, Somthin' Else
Autumn Leaves is one of the most recorded tune of all times! This, however, seems to the be the standard setter. While under Adderley's leadership, the group is really Miles' and we also get to hear Davis in a rare sideman role. Miles is in typical form with his harmon muted sound, and Adderley brings the soulfulness needed to christen in the fall season.
Sweet Pumpkin - Blue Mitchell, Blue's Moods
Blue Mitchell is one of those trumpet players that everyone has heard, but only the acquainted can identify. To me, his sound is the sound of Blue Note in the 1960's. A frequent collaborator of Horace Silver, here, he is leading his own group. As always, the feel is relaxed and swinging, with really concise solos that are very transcribable.
Autumn in New York - Harry Connick Jr, When Harry Met Sally
Connick's solo piano here is a good reminder of where he came from. While he is widely known as a vocalist/crooner (and American Idol Judge) he came up through New Orleans as a jazz piano player and many of his early albums include a decent amount of solo piano.
Stardust - Louis Armstrong
Hoagy Carmichael wrote Stardust in 1927, the tune mature however under the piston valves of Louis Armstrong four years later in 1931. This is a masterpiece on a couple different levels, melodic interpretation, vocal nuance, as well as improvisation. This performance of Stardust is generally included in any collection of Louis Armstrong, and for good reason - it is a masterpiece of 20th century musical expression!
Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered - Ella Fitzgerald, Rogers and Hart Songbook
Ella Fitzgerald recorded songbooks of eight American composers between 1956 and 1964. (Cole Porter, Rogers & Hart, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer). George Gershwin commented that he didn't know how good his songs sounded, until her heard Ella sing them. It is hard to put into words the artistic impact of her interpretations but at least as a starting point we can say that the collection is one of the most widely celebrated expressions of American Music.
'Tis Autumn - Red Garland, All Kinds of Weather
Red Garland recorded a concept Album in 1958 consisting of a variety of tracks including Rain, Summertime, Stormy Weather, Spring Will Be a Little Late this Year, Winter Wonderland and 'Tis Autumn. Some of those tracks are commonly played tunes through today. 'Tis Autumn may have been forgotten. Originally written in 1941 it was recorded quite frequently in the 1950's Chet Baker, Bill Evan, and Joe Pass to name a few.
Jumping Punkins - Mercer Ellington/Duke Ellington, The Blanton Webster Band
This tune is one of several that was composed by Mercer Ellington. Yet this specific arrangement follows Dukes style to perfection and many believe that he had a significant hand in the specific arrangement for his band.
Autumn Serenade - John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman
If every there was an odd pairing in jazz, this one just might be it. Harman certainly thought so. He didn't feel that his and Coltrane's styles would work together. But after stopping down to visit Trane at the Birdland and a meeting afterwards with he, Coltrane, and McCoy Tyner the project was a go. Hartman's deep and warm vocals artfully contrast with Coltrane's piercing and searching tenor sound. To this day this is considered one of the greatest ballad albums of all time.
HayBurner - Count Basie, Basie Straight Ahead
I am not even sure 'Hay' is just a Fall thing, so this one might be a stretch. Still, I can't on good conscious put together a jazz playlist without Count Basie! The Basie Straight Ahead album is the beautiful marriage of the writing of Sammy Nestico with the performance of the Basie band.